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Adrian Li from AC Ventures on parallels between triathlons and startups, being a venturepreneur and his ‘barbell balance’ technique for work-life balance

Published on October 7, 2021

Original Post by Understanding VC

Adrian Li is a venture capitalist amongst many other things, who has ample entrepreneurial experience, and prefers the tag of being a venturepreneur. He has acquired intensive business experience in Indonesia and China, which he shares with us in this episode.

Adrian also divulges his “barbell balance” technique for work-life balance, and reveals a fascinating analogy between triathlons and startups based on his hybrid experience of being an investor, an entrepreneur, as well as an athlete.

This episode will answer:

  • Why is Adrian drawn to developing markets like China and Indonesia? What role does technology play here?
  • What motivated Adrian to develop Idapted, a one-on-one English test preparation platform for Chinese students? What were some of the challenges he faced in the process?
  • What is Adrian’s science of hiring, and what inspires it?
  • Why does Adrian refer to himself as a “Venturepreneur”?
  • What is AC Academy? How does AC Ventures aim to  educate entrepreneurs through it?
  • Why doesn’t Adrian endorse the Chinese 996 work culture?
  • What is Adrian’s Barbell Strategy to achieve work-life balance?
  • How does Adrian compare a triathlon with the evolution of a startup? What are the ways to reach the finishing line?
  • What is Adrian’s perception of the Indonesian tech startup ecosystem, its qualities, and shortcomings?

AC Ventures (ACV) is a top Southeast Asian venture capital firm that invests in early-stage startups focused on Indonesia and ASEAN, with over US$500 million in assets under management. The firm's mission is to empower entrepreneurs with more than just capital by combining operational experience, industry knowledge, deep local networks, and resources. ACV's team has invested in over 120 tech companies in the region since 2012. With a team of more than 35 professionals led by Adrian Li, Michael Soerijadji, Helen Wong, and Pandu Sjahrir, it has offices in Jakarta and Singapore.

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